This was certainly my most educational bit of news for the week. Shortly after Steve Jobs keynote presentation yesterday, John Gruber posted a recap on Daring Fireball:
It’s not widely publicized, but those integrated search bars in web browser toolbars are revenue generators. When you do a Google search from Safari’s toolbar, Google pays Apple a portion of the ad revenue from the resulting page. (Ever notice the “client=safari” string in the URL query?)
The same goes for Mozilla (and, I presume, just about every other mainstream browser.) According to this report by Ryan Naraine, for example, the Mozilla Foundation earned over $50 million in search engine ad revenue in 2005, mostly from Google.
My somewhat-informed understanding is that Apple is currently generating about $2 million per month from Safari’s Google integration. That’s $25 million per year. If Safari for Windows is even moderately successful, it’s easy to see how that might grow to $100 million per year or more.
There’ve been many attempts to finance app development with advertising; what’s interesting about web browser search engine deals is that browser developers earn money – a lot of it – for ads that users were going to see anyway, just by performing the same search without the built-in integration.
That's awesome for Apple and now that I think about; it makes sense. I honestly thought it was the exact opposite. I thought Apple had to pay Google to license the Google name to place into the search bar and that it actually was a "loss" for Apple to produce Safari.
Apple releasing Safari for the PC seems like a no brainer to me now ... I wonder why Apple didn't do it a year ago?